Men who made headlines in 2011



Anna Hazare

One has to wonder who the real master of politicking is. Along with a team of impassioned truth seekers, Mr Hazare seeks to pass a government bill: the Lokpal Bill which seeks to hold government employees and politicians accountable for corruption.

But his methods and the bill itself have raised some serious questions. Should he be allowed to hold up government machinery?

Mr H also played a notable part in messing up Congress' performance in the Hisar elections. His plans for a five-State awareness campaign with the looming Uttar Pradesh elections are likely to give the Congress some sleepless nights.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Kahn was forced to exit the International Monetary Fund following accusations of molestation of a maid in his hotel suite in May 2011.

But the charges were dropped when the court deemed the victim ‘undependable'. However, the damage was done.

Seen as an opposition favourite as the French presidential candidate, Mr Kahn's fortunes slid rapidly. His possible career as a political consultant took a hit following a candid speech in Beijing this week, where he took aim at European political leaders for failing to deal with the European debt crisis effectively.

Cyrus Mistry

The search for a successor at the Tata Group was finally over. Cyrus Mistry was a member of the search committee to find a candidate to replace Ratan Tata who retires at the end of 2012. After much debate about a potential foreign candidate, the group's international credentials and so forth, Mr Mistry was anointed as the one to replace Ratan Tata.

The choice has been hailed. At 42, he will have ample time to dissect the 100-odd companies of the Tata Group whose diverse operations should keep him busy when he takes the reins in 2013. Mr Mistry is the son of Pallonji Mistry who heads the Shapoorji Pallonji Group which is the largest shareholder in the group holding company Tata Sons limited.

Nandan Nilekani

The former Infosys golden boy is fighting a good fight to give every Indian a unique number. His UID has been the subject of a turf battle with the Home Ministry which is working on a similar project.

The Home Ministry also insists that the UID's verification process is not robust enough. Similarly doubts have been cast over what the actual cost of the project will be and the herculean task of maintaining database containing information of 1.2 billion citizens, not to mention keeping it secure.

There is also some doubt whether there are sufficient checks and balances in place to enable the versatile and secure use of the UID card to link it to opening bank accounts, buy gas cylinders, dispense numerous subsidies and so forth.

So the question for Mr Nilekani is this: can he prevail and make sure the UID will be universally accepted? Or will turf battles and questions of cost derail the project?

Vijay Mallya

Dr Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines found itself on the brink of bankruptcy after years of poor management and as rising costs caught up.

It has undertaken several route cuts, returned leased aircraft and shut down its low-cost Kingfisher Red operations. But the whopping debt load of over Rs 7,000 crore and growing, threatens to break the airline.

Dr Mallya's insists that obituaries on Kingfisher Airlines are premature and unwarranted.

But speculation continues over the company's quest for investors to infuse much-needed cash. The recent induction into the Oneworld Alliance was a much needed respite for the firm.

But will good times continue to fly in 2012?

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